Sunday, July 9, 2017

Twin Peaks Returns (Part 8): A Message to the World

July 16, 1945, White Sands, New Mexico, 5:39 (MWT)

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...FLASH! Insert a bit of Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, and slowly zoom in. The atmosphere isn't natural, nor is it comforting. It's a black and white landscape, like the Lodges themselves, and full of ominousness. A mushroom cloud emerges. This is reality mixed with fiction. This is the most iconic and deadly imagery of all true life horror. The worst of our fears; atomic destruction; nuclear fallout; the end of all things. As we enter the explosion, with its colors popping off like fireworks, angry bursts of atoms fracturing physics, poisoning the earth, and raging with wild fire, it begins to become apparent; this isn't just about Twin Peaks, this is a message to the world. Gordon Cole would say, "Fix your hearts or die!" And perhaps we will die, because man has doomed himself.


A Creation Story

Part 8 seems to be a visual presentation, and a brilliant one at that, of how Bob originated. I think of it as Eraserhead meets Lost Highway, meets a Salvador Dali painting, and all for what might be a metaphoric example of the destruction of mankind. It feels like a short film that plays out in four segments. The first segment shows us Ray and Mr. C, and introduces The Woodsman. It cuts to "The" Nine Inch Nails playing, She's Gone Away, at the Roadhouse. 

Then we go back to 1945 during the testing of the first Atom bomb (Watch here -> The Atomic Bomb), also referenced in The Secret History of Twin Peaks, and discover how Bob was born, more or less. From there we enter yet another segment, or another world, where ??????? aka The Giant seems to send Laura Palmer to the world as The Chosen One. Finally, we flashback to 1956 where a flying frog-like creature hatches in the desert. The Woodsman returns, and brutally puts a town to sleep, while the flying creature inhabits the mouth of curious young girl.


Meet The Woodsman


Whether Bob is still with Mr. C or not isn't clear, but I'd guess he's not. What I found most intriguing was the dance/ritual these ghostly men perform on Mr. C. How do they fit into the larger context of this story? I kept thinking, "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust." It feels like a creation story. Maybe not a strictly Christian one, but one that encompasses theories from all religions, tribes, theologians, and science. Thus attracting a broad spectrum of possibilities and interpretations. 


The lyrics to the song, She's Gone Away, struck me as funny. Is it about Laura? The young girl, or something completely different? Maybe nothing at all. You decide, read below.


You dig in places till your fingers bleed
Spread the infection, where you spill your seed
I can't remember what she came here for
I can't remember much of anything anymore

She's gone, she's gone, she's gone away
She's gone, she's gone, she's gone away

Away
Away

A little mouth opened up inside
Yeah, I was watching on the day she died
We keep licking while the skin turns black
Cut along the length, but you can't get the feeling back

She's gone, she's gone, she's gone away
She's gone, she's gone, she's gone away
She's gone, she's gone, she's gone away
She's gone, she's gone, she's gone away

Away
Away
Away
Away

Are you still here?


The Bomb - 1945


Probably one of the coolest, and most intense scenes I've ever seen. I'm a David Lynch fan, but I'm not saying that just because of that reason. The bomb is a pivotal moment both thematically and visually, and that's what makes it so powerful. To convey the awesome and destructive power happening inside the explosion, using color and sound alone, is certainly a feat of genius. A thread has been torn, and it seems to be a thread between worlds. 

The Convenience Store



In the aftermath of the bomb, it appears a group of men, known to us as The Woodsman or Charcoal Men, perished in a nearby Convenience store. In front of the Convenience store is a gas station. Could this be why Bob was said to have smelled like scorched engine oil? Exactly how do they connect to Bob? 

Mother Nature/Alien/Inter-Dimensional Being?


The explosion seems to have opened a doorway/portal to another world, or perhaps unleashed the fury of Mother Nature. This feminine creature is credited as the "Experiment." Some thoughts on Mother Nature, also commonly referred to as Mother Earth, likely originated from Greek Mythology as The Goddess Gaia, which means earth. She is said to have created herself out of chaos, and from her all life was born. She is considered a keeper of balance, health, and the laws of nature. It is also said if you violate the balance of nature, she is vengeful. What could violate nature more than a nuclear bomb?

Born of Fire


As a result, Bob is sent to earth in a bubble along with several other eggs. Perhaps they can be viewed as punishment for the bomb; disease sent from the Gods of the universe. It does appear that Bob's presence on the earth was born in fire. Maybe anyone who works with Bob, also walks with fire? 

???????/The Giant


Is the Giant the guardian of the universe? Father time? God? Does it even matter what his identity truly is? Perhaps thinking of him as an overseer of balance and goodness is enough. No matter who he is, he is clearly charged with the responsibility to right evil or imbalances. Where is he though? The White Lodge? A multi-dimensional power station? All these questions in my head make me wonder if that's not an ironic nod to him being credited with seven question marks for his character's name. Seven is an interesting choice of numbers. Lucky 7 Insurance comes to mind, but also in the Bible the number 7 is the foundation of God's word.

Laura is the one.


In response, a good soul, Laura Palmer, is sent to combat Bob's treachery. There appeared to be a symmetry between the good witch from The Wizard of Oz and Laura's face appearing in ???????'s golden ball. Senorita Dido's reaction was quite emotional and beautiful, in my opinion. The choice of music in this scene was powerful and effective. The quirky contraptions used to send Laura's ball to earth was visually stunning. In the first Log Lady Intro for the pilot episode of Twin Peaks, watch here, she says that Laura is the "One." She also says the story encompasses the "all" and that it's beyond the "fire." I can't say I have a clear explanation for how or if that's important, but it's intriguing. 


If Laura is the one leading to the many, in a story that encompasses the all, who would that make her? Is Laura a Jesus-like spirit? Or, in a broader sense, maybe she's simply a savior. I'm not a religious person truthfully. I'm more Agnostic in my views, but I spent some time in Catholic school and to me, there is no denying the religious undertones in new Twin Peaks. But fear not to those who cringe a little at that idea, and to those who cherish their faith I mean no disrespect in saying that. I think it's important to separate our personal beliefs from the arts and entertainment we enjoy. As I mentioned earlier, I think this particular story of creation (maybe) also includes a bit of all possible life after death explanations, including those of a scientific nature. Maybe the message is one of unity, which includes embracing the possibility of all ideas, be them ideas of faith or ideas of science. 

1956


"This the water, and this is the well. Drink full, and descend. The horse is the white of the eyes, and dark within." The sound of electricity was all around him. He descended when the egg hatched in the desert. 11 years after the bomb, which is a Biblical number often used to represent chaos. It feels like we might get more of this story, or maybe that this part will click in our minds more as we come to learn what's next. No matter the relevance of The Woodsman, his presence indicates something sinister, which leads me to think the creature who enters the girl's mouth could be evil. 


Leland says in Episode 16, of the original series, that Bob came to him when he was a little boy in a dream, and that he opened himself up to him, so Bob came inside him. Watch here ---> Into the Light. Thinking of that sort of made me wonder about the girl's experience. The Woodsman put the town to sleep, so if she was dreaming when she opened her mouth for the creature, is it possible that Bob or a Bob-like spirit entered her the same way as Leland? Anyone who's ever worried about bugs crawling into their mouths while they sleep, probably had nightmares from this scene.


At first I assumed it was Laura crawling into young Sarah Palmer's mouth, but now I'm not sure. I'm also not sure that the young girl is Sarah, but I do think her picking up that penny is why it went into her mouth. I think there is clue to her identity when she tells the boy she just "knew" he lived behind the school. Seemed liked she might have the gift of second sight. So who do we know with that kind of power? Sarah Palmer and The Log Lady, or she could be someone completely different. I saw on the internet that someone remembered the mention of an ancient frog clan in the book Access Guide to the Town. I happen to have a copy of that book and snapped the above photo. 

Final Thoughts

I think on a larger scale, Part 8 is sending a message about the fate of the world. There are connections to Twin Peaks, some of Lynch's films, and a lot of potential paranormal directions the story can take from here, but underneath there seems to be a lesson of sorts. I love all the references to the official books: The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, The Autobiography of Dale Cooper, My Life, My Tapes, Twin Peaks: Access Guide to the Town, and The Secret History of Twin Peaks in the new series so far.

I love the idea of putting a mystery together that in one sense revisits original Twin Peaks, reinvents new Twin Peaks, pays tribute to the collective body of Lynch's work, Frost's work, and that also uses real world truths to develop the story. I feel like Lynch and Frost want to leave their mark with these 18 hours, and I respect that. All great storytellers want that. They want to tell you a terrific story, while they're also sending you an important message. How you interpret and perceive that message is up to you.



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